Japan Festival, Creekside Style

Flags of Japan using paper punches and ribbon.

The idea of having a festival came about because my kids attended one, of the fall variety, and started playing “festival” at home. So, sneaky momma that I am, I decided to incorporate that into what we were learning about Japan over the past two weeks.

Indeed, they got very excited about making invitations and decorations and putting together little presentations for The Husband and The Grandparents.

We served green tea, dragon fruit, Pocky chocolate dipped cracker sticks and Japanese mochi, which are little sweet cakes of rice with filling on the inside. Very yummy.

We displayed their play dough sushi rolls.  Even with clear signs that said “This is play dough.” and “Do Not Eat”,  we think my father-in-law might have taken a bite out of one of the sushi pieces. We found it on a plate after the party. He can read little signs so I’m pretty sure it was due to his uncontrollable Frank Barone-style reflex of seeing food on a plate and, well, eating it. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the kids because the boys thought it was funny and The Queen Bee was horrified that someone ate her craft.

The evidence. Who ate the play dough sushi?

Mochi, dragon fruit, green tea and Pocky.

Anyway, back to the actual festival.  The kids each did a presentation.  Firefly talked about Grandfather’s Journey, geography of Japan, Hachiko and World War II.  Again, I was reminded that homeschooling affords us a fabulous way of evaluating what our kids are learning without the need for tests.  He had memorized, nearly word for word, the entire Grandfather’s Journey book after having it read to him only four times and seemingly staring off into space most of those times.

Firefly prepares the mochi platter. Who doesn't love these little umbrellas? Had to get them when we saw them at the Asian market.

He became fascinated with World War II and retained every minute detail we had talked about.  I was wowed.  Daddy and the grandparents were wowed.  The Grandparents then told him about their experiences with World War II (bomb raid drills at school, Grandpa’s assignment to a Navy ship during his military service).

The Queen Bee talked about A Pair of Red Clogs and showed off her flag of Japan.  I am convinced that the eagerness of both kids to stand up in front of the family and present what they learned was not due to an inner calling to public speaking,  nor a desire to do as their mother asked but because they got to use this fabulous, fun microphone. For as low as $4 and no batteries, that’s right, I said no batteries, you, too, can own one of these.  I only allow them to use it for school stuff and then it goes to a secret undisclosed location in my home office because, for the love of peace and quiet, my kids are loud enough on their own without needing their voices amplified.

We also put together a photo slide show of all the fun things we’ve done over the past two weeks and played it on our t.v. (thanks to our in-house tech support, a.k.a. The Husband).

That’s it.  Simple. Fun. A good time was had by all.

"kimonos" (Mommy's bathrobes, actually) and "Japanese Clogs" (aka, flip flops)